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Thread: Who's done a USA trip?

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    Who's done a USA trip?

    When you went to USA, what parts were your favourite? what parts are too touristy and should be avoided? Did you pre-book all hotels and flights before you went or did you do it "on the fly"?

    Me and a mate are planning a trip soon. We have a rough plan of NY > Flordia/Miami > Houston > LA > Las Vegas > home

    Is this possible with 3 weeks? Anyone who's done this, if you could share any tips and costs (food/hotels/rail-cards etc) it'd be greatly appreciated!! Thanks.

    For flights we've noticed Expedia are about the cheapest, is this the case?

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    You do realise that it's about 3000 miles coast to coast....if you're doing all that travelling on train, you'll be hard pressed to get any sightseeing done other that what you'll be able to see out of your carriage window.

    Just check out Howard Johnson hotels, and it's probably worth booking them in advance if you're fairly sure you're going to stick to your schedule. Otherwise you'll always be able to find a motel in the states, and it'll give you some flexibility. Problem is that budgets very rarely last, and having your accomodation all paid for in advance means you know you've got somewhere to sleep, even if you can't afford anything to eat!

    NY, LA, Las Vegas are all brilliant, for completely different reasons....New York is real, vibrant, and powerful. Los Angeles is fairytale land, dreamy, sunny, and full of beautiful people (just don't go to South Central, or South LA as it likes to be called now), Vegas is like Amsterdam, but meaner. More fun though.

    Never been to Florida, but really want to go. Heard enough people raving about it....apart from the huge numbers of retired folks, whose sagging bits really get in the way of all the nubile things on rollerblades .

    Houston. Never been. Never heard enough about it to appeal.

    If you budget, everything can be done very cheaply. If you don't, you won't make it out of NY.
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    Thanks for the reply, just what I needed

    Not all travelling will be done by train, an internal flight from east to west would be a better alternative? we could forget Texas or anything else inbetween and just head straight to California.

    Luckilly money shouldn't be an issue, I've been saving for a few years. However, we do still obviously want to cut costs where possible.

    Given our (very sketchy) plan, what places do you recommend we visit? I'd quite like to see Hoover dam for example, just before Las Vegas. Any guides or books worth buying?

    Edit - what if I just went to a travel agents and gave them a list of places we want to see, could they sort out hotels and flights? or would this be very expensive?
    Last edited by grabbi_21; 05-08-2007 at 08:39 PM.

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    Never bought a guide book for the US, but the Rough Guides have always stood me in good stead for other countries, and are fairly comprehensive. Worth reading one cover to cover to give you an idea of what there is on offer.

    I'd recommend a flight from North to South too...that's no day trip, NY to Miami....

    I'd skip the whole of central US, unless there's something you really want to see. Hell, I don't know, maybe you've got a thing for girls in cowboy boots.

    Depending upon whether you're a 'cram ever sight worth seeing' guy, or a 'lay back and just enjoy being there' dude, you'll still be hard pressed to fit four locations in three weeks. I could spend a week at Venice Beach and Santa Monica alone, and New York could keep me entertained for months, but for other people they need to be doing something, going somewhere, rather than taking the time to soak up the ambience. Not saying it's a bad thing, just a personal preference.

    For LA and Vegas I'd recommend hiring a car if you're able and actually doing the trip by road...it's about five hours, and you can detour out the way to visit the grand canyon and hoover (both only worth it for leaning as far out as you can and feeling like you're about to fall).

    Sure you haven't got more than three weeks? Do one of those american dream things and hire a convertible and drive across the states. Sure it'll be boring as hell, but you'll never forget it....
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    Yeah tbh we were struggling to think of places worth seeing in Central US, although I do like cowgirls No seriously, I think we'll forget the centre, there's always the chance of a separate trip one day.

    Hire car is a possibility, i'm over 21 which'll help.

    Definitely haven't got more than 3 weeks unfortunately, without throwing my job away anyway. I guess we could do a separate NY trip? hmm..

    I might add you to MSN for a chat sometime if that's ok dude.

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    No worries, but I'm rarely available for chat atm, too frickin' busy.....doing three things as we speak....

    What were you planning to do? Just a lads trip? Hit as many pubs/clubs by night and chill out by day? It's not a bad plan....
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    I've just always wanted to see America, I'm due a holiday and no doubt alcohol will be consumed heh.

    One thing I forgot to ask, do you just take a credit card? I assume Maestro won't work, it's a European thing isn't it? Not keen on taking a wad of cash. We'll be travelling as light as possible!

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    Credit cards are fine, but it's always good to have a backup, travellers cheques, or even someone back here who's willing to get down to Western Union should you need a cash injection in a hurry....

    You're right in thinking that debit cards don't work stateside.
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    Huston was instantaly forgettable, can't say I'd ever choose to go back there again.

    New York, Seattle and San Francisco are probably my favourite places. The Orlando area is great if you want that sort of holiday, if you're after a city break then it didn't hold much appeal for me.

    Maestro won't work for payments in shops but you can use it to pull cash out of a cash machine.

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    If you're in the Orlando area, and fancy a bit of scenic flying, maybe down to Key West then let me know.

    Miami is probably better for young guys than Orlando, but there are still some good things to do, and there's a big crowd of young people. Try to time your visit to a space shuttle launch, it's one of the most epic things you'll ever see (and I live on Merritt Island!).
    Remember that you have to be 21 to drink and will be carded EVERYWHERE! You mention you're 21, so if you're travelling with friends who are underage then wait until they are old enough. It's retarded, but they stick to the law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grabbi_21 View Post
    Me and a mate are planning a trip soon. We have a rough plan of NY > Flordia/Miami > Houston > LA > Las Vegas > home
    Is this possible with 3 weeks?
    Go LV then LA - sort of en route.

    IMO not possible in 3 weeks, I'd suggest keeping it simple and do the East or West Coast in 3 weeks: not both. If you do them properly you'll gain a lot more.

    I lived in Vancouver with my girlfriend (now wife) for almost a year, then we bought a car and drove around the states: it took about 3 months. East and West coasts are fine, pretty interesting; but the only thing I'd go for again would be the National Parks. That said it was the best three months of our lives.

    My favourite states would be Wyoming and Montana, my favourite 'places' would be Yellow Stone NP and the Grand Canyon NP... breath taking. Oh, and the Rockies.

    I'm going to sound like a snob and say that I thought the majority (with some spectacular exceptions) of built up America was a waste of time, and very similair to the 'identikit' streets of familiar shops I fear Britain's towns are turning into.

    For us car was by far the cheapest way to go, but that's if you have the time to wait to find a bargain, and hang on to sell it for the right price.

    I'd like to think I was the Oracle on this sort of stuff, but know that some guys really want to go to LV and LA, I don't know why but they do, I hope you have a fnatastic time whatever you do...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeePee View Post
    Try to time your visit to a space shuttle launch, it's one of the most epic things you'll ever see (and I live on Merritt Island!).
    Hear that I loved it

    Quote Originally Posted by TeePee View Post
    Remember that you have to be 21 to drink and will be carded EVERYWHERE! You mention you're 21, so if you're travelling with friends who are underage then wait until they are old enough. It's retarded, but they stick to the law.
    I was 19 - I got pulled over near Seattle and they didn't like my accent (or attitude?!) and searched my whole car, found an open bottle of scotch in the boot - I got in a heap of shtuff. I pleaded ignorance: said I'd just forgotten from when we were in BC, but it wasted a whole day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ibm View Post
    You're right in thinking that debit cards don't work stateside.
    My Visa debit worked fine in Canada and the States

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    I highly doubt I'll have a problem purchasing alcohol, i'm 24.

    I know 3 weeks isn't long enough but without being sacked its as long as I'm going to be allowed lol. Could always fly to NY, have a few days there and then straight over to the west.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grabbi_21 View Post
    Could always fly to NY, have a few days there and then straight over to the west.
    What about NY, NJ Chicago, Boston, Philly area? It's a great place up in the North East.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeePee View Post
    .... and I live on Merritt Island!
    I've spent a lot of time in Melbourne, initially beachside, just off A1A, and more recently mainland, just off US1 not far from the King Center.

    I agree about the Shuttle launches. I've seen about a dozen, usually from Kennedy (with passes), but a couple from were from Canaveral, with a clear view straight across the water to 39A. It helps to have friends that are fairly senior USAF at Patrick.



    grabbi_21, my advice would be to not try to do too much at once. If you do, you'll end up doing nothing properly. The US is B-I-G, and it takes significant periods of time to get from anywhere to anywhere else. A lot depends on what you want to see, but the Hoover dam, for instance, is a day's job, by the time you get there, see the thing properly and then perhaps get to Vegas. And Vegas itself is an, erm ... interesting place, and makes a great jumping off point for the Grand Canyon. If you go to California, personally I'd suggest San Francisco rather than LA, and you can spend days there, too.

    I's suggest trimming your ambitions down, because three weeks simply isn't enough, IMHO, to do a credible job of seeing so many locations. Work out how far it is from London to New York, then compare New York to LA and you'll see what I mean.

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